So you went to a bootcamp, slogged through days of grueling CS fundamentals, built a poop-ton of CRUD apps, CSS’d the shit out of your front end and maybe even did some white boarding. Fuck yeah. But now what?
The now what phase happens the moment you step out of your structured environment and begin the second, equally challenging phase of your path in the world of code… getting someone to pay your ass to git add. git commit -m and git push, find and squish pesky bugs and write elegant, manicotti (the opposite of spaghetti… seriously, it’s true) code.
Many things are no doubt entering your mind. “I don’t know enough.” “Jane is the best dev in our class and she’s already got like 3 rejections.” “I still can’t explain ‘this’ in JS, help me lord please!” The coding gods revel in your misery, cackling from their compiler dungeon, bwahahaha.
Yeah, I’ve been there and so has nearly every dev I’ve ever talked with. You may almost feel audacious as you apply as if you don’t have the right. Maybe the fear of rejection has crippled you into taking yet more time to learn that new framework or language or whatever it is you’re telling yourself will make you a sure bet.
Fuck that noise.
Your first job will teach you more than another 6 months or a year of self study. Working on a team, with a large codebase, writing code to be consumed outside your circle of friends or instructors will make you level up faster than anything else… not to mention you’ll be writing code for about 8 hours a day.
Here’s the tough part: you’re gonna get rejected. You’re gonna get lots of calls from terrible recruiters (if you’re linkedin and resume don’t suck) and some people may even discourage you, telling you it’s a hard market for a bootcamp grad. Fuck them and fuck that. I’ve been hearing that since 2013 and yet every month I see more of my own students (not just the top ones… ) get great jobs coding for a living.
Here’s some tips I’ve amassed from smarter people and through my own trial and error:
Get a linkedIn. Put your skills on that bitch and have a something in your title section other than “Passionate developer looking for blah, blah, blah…” How bout, “JS dev with a thing for API’s, unit testing and getting shit done!” Well, maybe not that far, but I’d rather go for weird over boring. I was a hiring manager and trust me, that “safe” resume/cover letter shit is boring. When there’s 100 other resumes in the stack and they all sound the same, guess who’s going to stick out? Just my two cents.
On your resume and cover letter, maybe don’t put that you went to a bootcamp. Some people are biased, don’t give them a reason to toss you out based on that. If your job history is mostly sales or retail or professional cos-player or whatever, just leave that shit right out of there. “Well, what SHOULD I put on there then?”
First off, I don’t like the cut of your jib asking me a question with that tone, secondly, maybe put the projects you’ve done, the tech used and a link to that shit so recruiters/employers can see what you’re made of.
Get a nice pic of yourself and put that on the old linkedIn, endorse your classmates, write some recs and expect the same in return. Switch the order of your skills so the most impressive stuff is first on the list (you don’t want HTML and CSS at the top or that’s what you’ll be mostly endorsed for).
Always accept recruiter connections, be kind even if they don’t have their shit together, you never know when you may need them. Now, strap on and get ready to go on some interviews, have your ego crushed and get back up and do that shit all over again.
When the calls start drying up, change your resume and linkedIn slightly, they will shoot back up in the ranks on job sites like Indeed and Monster. This little hack got me keeping a steady stream of calls for months!
Remember, you’re applying for a skilled job that most people have no clue how to do, so act like it!
Lastly, don’t neglect self-study or your precious github the moment class stops. This is a life-long learner’s trade and nothing shouts “I just went to a bootcamp to get a job but don’t really like coding” more than a robust git commit history that mysteriously drops off after a certain date. Really, don’t be that girl/guy.
That’s it. Seriously, stop lolly-gaggin around here. Get your ass up (or continue to sit really, I suppose, I mean, no need to stand and type) and get hired!